When a Father Did Not Want a Daughter to Leave Home Until Married

A rubber ball bounced against the neighbor’s
bricks. Hands clapped.

Hands. Houses. The sound of h.
A hawk scouring for something to chase.

Hush, memory, go away.

Here he comes, the man of the house home from work.
Saddest eyes, then another who lives inside him.

Walking home three blocks in the dark.
Safe when she sees Sheryl’s porch light.

Three doors down Father waiting, a pothole of craving.

Where the hell were you?

He fears her smoky eyes looking away.

Incorrigible. I told you. Don’t let her go.


Morning dabbed on its gray shadow. Lipstick,
Apricot Daybreak. 
She sat on her suitcase.
For the driving           away.



Amy Small-McKinney won The Kithara Book Prize 2016 (Glass Lyre Press) for her second full-length collection of poems, Walking Toward Cranes. Her poems have appeared inConnotation Press: An Online Artifact, American Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Construction, LIPS, Tiferet Journal,and elsewhere. Small-McKinney’s poems also appear in Veils, Halos, and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women (eds Charles Fishman & Smita Sahay), andBARED: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts (ed. Laura Madeline Wiseman). Her work was translated into Korean in Bridging The Waters II(Cross-Cultural Communications.) and into Romanian. January 2018, she traveled to Ireland with the Drew University MFA in Poetry program where she participated on the panel, Kindred Spirits, at the Transatlantic Connections Conference.

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